It is astonishing that a book like this should appear with a title that appears to make Patriarch Kirill a natural supporter of human rights and democratic freedoms. He is not.
If readers must take up this book, they should treat it with the deepest reserve and make it their business to find out the truth behind what Kirill has to say. Such as his public support and blessing for the Belarus' dictator Lukaschenko - who has imprisoned and tortured his political opponents; so much for freedom and responsibility! If Kirill intervenes like this in ordinary politics, he leaves himself open to legitimate criticism in the same way as any other secular politician, forfeiting his right to be treated with the deference and respect becoming of a bishop in the Orthodox Church.
In August 2011 Kirill wrote an astonishing open letter to Fidel Castro, congratulating him in very warm terms, and addressing him as "Dear Commandante". There are many Cuban exiles throughout the world who have a rather different view of Castro and point to his brutal disregard for human rights. In fact, despite the rather romantic view held by many middle-aged Europeans, Castro is just another Marxist thug. Yet he attracts the heartfelt encouragement and blessing of Kirill. What does that say about Kirill on a political and personal level? Or yet again, the sycophantic and nauseating public "birthday greetings" he felt it appropriate to offer to Vladimir Putin on 7 October 2011?Read more ›
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Let me ask whether the reviewer `Killistean' has actually read the book. Certainly his `review', which has appeared very fast indeed after the book hit the shops, could have been written without reading it.
Prima facie it looks like he is using the Amazon review facility as a political platform. He may not like Patriarch Kirill, which is his right, but the review section is there to review books, not play politics.
In my view the book is worth reading for those genuinely interested in the Russian church and the thinking behind its particular stance on church-state relations. It also offers a unique, direct access to the mind of the leader of the largest Orthodox confession, allowing the reader to come to his own judgement on the man, rather than through the eyes of third parties. It is not without some weaker points, an open and honest discussion and critique of which would advance and sharpen both the current debate on the role of religion and politics and the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian confessions.